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Carbon flux, storage, and wildlife co-benefits in a restoring estuary

October 15, 2021

Tidal marsh restorations may result in transitional mudflat habitats depending on hydrological and geomorphological conditions. Compared to tidal marsh, mudflats are thought to have limited value for carbon sequestration, carbon storage, and foraging benefits for salmon. We evaluated greenhouse gas exchange, sediment carbon storage, and invertebrate production at restoration and reference tidal marsh sites within the Nisqually River Delta, Puget Sound, Washington. Within the first seven years, the restoration site was a sparsely vegetated mudflat that didn't sequester atmospheric CO2; but, had sediment carbon accumulation rates similar to the reference site due to allochthonous carbon subsidies from nearby mature marshes. Compared to other estuarine habitat types, the tidal marsh supported the greatest production of energy-rich insect prey for juvenile salmon; yet, the restoration site produced similar, and at times elevated, invertebrate prey resources and prey energy compared to the reference site. As a result, salmon that foraged within the restoration site gained measurable benefits as indicated by their bioenergetic growth potential. The restoration site received carbon subsidies from the broader estuarine landscape for both sediment carbon accumulation and invertebrate prey production. These findings demonstrate the importance of habitat connectivity and show how blue carbon and wildlife co-benefits are closely intertwined.

Publication Year 2022
Title Carbon flux, storage, and wildlife co-benefits in a restoring estuary
DOI 10.1002/9781119639305.ch5
Authors Isa Woo, Melanie J. Davis, Susan E. W. De La Cruz, Lisamarie Windham-Myers, Judith Z. Drexler, Kristin B. Byrd, Ellen Stuart-Haëntjens, Frank E Anderson, Brian A. Bergamaschi, Glynnis Nakai, Christopher S. Ellings, Sayre Hodgson
Publication Type Book Chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Index ID 70228320
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization California Water Science Center; Western Ecological Research Center